March 2, 2024

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Broccoli Rice Casserole From Scratch

1 min read
Baked Broccoli Rice Casserole topped with cheese in white casserole dish.

This recipe for Broccoli Rice Casserole is an insanely delicious, simple casserole made with a from-scratch creamy, cheesy sauce, crisp-tender broccoli, and rice. It is easy enough to be enjoyed any night of the week but is fabulous enough to be served as a standout holiday side dish.

While Broccoli and Rice Casserole is a delicious side for holiday meals when paired with Instant Pot Turkey Breast or Glazed Ham, it is also a perfect weeknight side dish when served alongside Homemade Rotisserie Chicken or Air Fryer Pork Chops.

Scoop of homemade broccoli rice casserole with tons of cheese.

Broccoli Rice Casserole is a stick-to-your-ribs, comfort food dish.

While traditionally made with condensed canned soup, my recipe for Broccoli Rice Casserole is made from scratch, leaving the preservatives and excess sodium on the shelf.

The homemade sauce is ALMOST as easy to make as using condensed soup, but the results are on a whole other level! It is luscious, and creamy, with no artificial aftertaste or salt lick from the high-sodium canned soup.

The cream sauce is tossed with rice, broccoli, and cheese, and baked until golden and bubbly, to make one of the most delicious versions of Broccoli Rice Casseroles you will ever enjoy.

Ingredients for Broccoli Casserole

Ingredients for broccoli rice casserole labeled on counter.
  • Broccoli: Fresh or frozen broccoli can be used for this casserole, but it should be steamed until just crisp-tender and chopped into bite-size pieces, with the thick stems removed.
  • Rice: This recipe calls for cooked rice. As for the type of rice, either brown or white rice work just as well. This is a great time to use leftover Instant Pot Rice.
  • Cheese: To give this broccoli and rice casserole an irresistible cheesy finish, use both shredded sharp cheddar cheese and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  • Homemade Cream Sauce: Instead of using condensed canned soup, this recipe is started with homemade cream of chicken soup. It is a quick and easy homemade cream sauce that comes together quickly with butter, flour, milk, broth, and seasonings. For the broth, use either vegetable broth or chicken stock. Using vegetable broth will keep this dish vegetarian-friendly.

To make this broccoli rice casserole gluten-free, use a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend in place of all-purpose flour. I have done this many times with fabulous success.

How to Make Broccoli and Rice Casserole

Making broccoli rice casserole from scratch is not complicated or time-consuming, especially when using leftover cooked rice. It only takes a few minutes to make a homemade cream sauce and will taste a million times better than using condensed soup.

  • In a large, heavy-bottomed stock pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  • Once melted, whisk in the flour, to form a thick paste known as a roux and allow that mixture to cook for 1-2 minutes. This will ensure there is no raw flour taste in your casserole.
  • Slowly whisk in the broth and milk, a little bit at a time, to incorporate the liquid into the roux.
  • Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder and continue cooking over medium heat until thick and bubbly, whisking constantly.
Side by side saute pan with thickened bechemel sauce for broccoli casserole.
  • Once the sauce is thickened, remove it from the heat and add half the grated cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, cooked rice, and broccoli to the cream sauce.
  • Stir until the ingredients are evenly combined.
Side by side saute pan before and after mixing rice, cheese, and broccoli into bechemel sauce.
  • Pour the mixture into a greased 2-quart baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.
Side by side broccoli cheese rice casserole before and after adding cheese.
  • Bake until warmed through and the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Baked Broccoli Rice Casserole topped with cheese in white casserole dish.

Prepping in Advance

Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole can be prepared up to a month in advance, making it a great option for the holidays or entertaining.

  • Up to Two Days in Advance: Prepare the casserole up to baking and cover it tightly with foil. Refrigerate for up to 48 hours before baking. When ready to bake, remove the casserole from the refrigerator while the oven preheats to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 30 minutes covered, uncovered, and then bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is warmed through.
  • Up to One Month in Advance: Prepare the cream sauce and toss it with broccoli, rice, and cheese as directed. Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe greased baking dish. Cover tightly with at least 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. To cook this broccoli and rice casserole from frozen, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes covered, and then uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

More Holiday Side Dishes

If you liked this recipe for Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole, I would love for you to leave a comment and a review.

Scoop of homemade broccoli rice casserole with tons of cheese.

Broccoli Rice Casserole

Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole is a creamy, cheesy, delicious from-scratch recipe that is loaded with broccoli and cheese.

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Course: Side Dish

Cuisine: American

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Servings: 8

Calories: 285kcal

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Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish with butter or spray with nonstick spray.

  • In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat on the stove. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, to remove the raw flour taste.

  • Slowly whisk in stock and milk, allowing the liquid to fully combine into the flour mixture. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Continue cooking over medium heat until thick and bubbly, whisking constantly.

  • Once the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, remove it from the heat. Add in the rice, broccoli, and 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Stir to combine.

  • Pour in the greased casserole dish and top with remaining cheddar cheese and parmesan.

  • Bake, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned and warmed through.

Notes

Broccoli: To cook the broccoli, place raw or frozen broccoli florets in boiling water and cook for 2 minutes until JUST crisp-tender. You can alternatively steam the broccoli for 2-3 minutes. Once cooked, drain and chop into bite-sized pieces. 
Broth: Chicken stock or vegetable broth can be used to make the sauce. Use vegetable broth to keep this casserole vegetarian-friendly. 
Gluten-Free Broccoli Rice Casserole: Use a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend in place of all-purpose flour to keep this casserole gluten-free.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days once cooled slightly. 
Preparing in Advance: 

  • Up to Two Days in Advance: Prepare the casserole up to baking and cover it tightly with foil. Refrigerate for up to 48 hours before baking. When ready to bake, remove the casserole from the refrigerator while the oven preheats to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 30 minutes covered, uncovered, and then bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is warmed through.
  • Up to One Month in Advance: Prepare the cream sauce and toss it with broccoli, rice, and cheese as directed. Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe greased baking dish. Cover tightly with at least 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. To cook this broccoli and rice casserole from frozen, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes covered, and then uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 508mg | Potassium: 337mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 731IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 272mg | Iron: 1mg

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This post was originally published in 2019 and updated in 2022 with new photos and a video.


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